When we are kids, we sometimes face abuse and while it shouldn’t just be a part of life, for many of us it has become exactly that. Throughout the years, I have noticed that one means of abuse seems to go unnoticed, and now is the time to change that.
When we’re young we’re afraid of a lot of things but depending on our parents and how they speak to us gaslighting can be quite present. While most people just call it being harsh or joking around depending on how they look at things, gaslighting your kids doesn’t make it any less abusive just because they’re your kids. While some parents do not realize it, this kind of thing will stick with their children well into adulthood.
Because kids see their parents as the people who are supposed to protect and care for them, they often hang on their every word. It is so easy to gaslight a kid. Getting in their heads and under their skin might as well be as easy as popping food into the microwave. As mothers and fathers we from the moment our kids are born control their lives until they become independent. I can’t tell you how bad I thought I was for simply existing because of how my parents treated me growing up and it even now still takes a toll on me.
Gaslighting comes in many forms and honestly, you might not even realize you’re doing it. That being said, this kind of abuse can really do a lot more damage than most want to admit. Your kids trust you and when you tell them they’re in the wrong even if they aren’t they’re going to hang on your every word and take it to heart, that’s just how kids are.
Psych Central wrote as follows on parents gaslighting their kids:
A parent who gaslights their child is manipulatively deceptive. They take advantage of their position of trust and authority over the child to meet their own dysfunctional needs. The child, whose brain and emotions are still in the developmental stages, doesn’t have the ability to see their parent’s behavior as abusive. Rather, the child trusts the parent even more and begins to believe that they are in fact crazy. Sometimes this process is done in ignorance, as their parents did the same behavior to them as children. Other times, it is done intentionally to keep the child emotionally stunted so the parent can remain in control.
If you’re always blowing things out of proportion and making them out to be way worse than they are to make your kid feel bad, you’re gaslighting him/her. If you mock your children and the things they do, you’re gaslighting them. It’s not that complicated and all boils down to treating them like the human beings they are. We as their parents should be caring for them and guiding them but not refusing to let them be who they are and over asserting our power as a whole.
While we are their parents we still owe them apologies when we mess up, and we shouldn’t be telling them who they are or who they should be. They are still their own people at the end of the day and while we should guide them within reason we shouldn’t drive them mad trying to live through them. This kind of abuse often goes without being noticed and honestly that makes me sick.